Thinking Of Memory

Short sentences are important because of the short-term memory if it’s too long the short-term memory just goes into shutdown motors as I just can’t cope with this stuff it’s too hard I wish I’d never enrolled in this course this is just so awful so now that’s an example it’s a 13 word sentence your short-term memory can cope with that perfectly well and as a rule of thumb 20 words is getting close to the limit so if you find your sentence has gone on and on and on over three or four or five lines and may go back and count and see can I break it up is there a way in which I can turn that into two sentences and that way my readers short-term memory is not going to get clogged up now what I’m going to show you on this next slide is not something I want you to spend time reading at this very moment but it’s an example of a very long sentence the author’s that they’re arguing about private companies and how they can impose negative externalities such as pollution on the rest of the world.

It’s 68 flipping words not now it does contain more than one complete thought it’s got four complete thoughts and it’s actually and that but that’s not its main problem you know Judith draws pictures and bakes cakes walks the dog and talks to her friend that’s got four complete thoughts in it and we can cope with that its main problem is that it’s much too long so this breaks it up into four sentences which are the four separate thoughts and later on we’re going to trim this down even for I’m just underlining the finite verbs here and you can see from that that that last sentence has in fact got three complete thoughts in it because it’s got three finite verbs in it but let’s get on it a bit further think about these your finite burbs when I was maybe nine ten years old we began this stuff at school.

And it was called parsing sentences cabinet is the subject yesterday is an advert and a terrible time discussed as the finite verb how to word changes the laws on workers comp is a noun phrase which is the object of that sentence and we did it day after day and I really loved it I did I thought it was really good fun most teachers hated it and I heard one they used to throw the grammar book across the room and genuinely throw tantrums and anyway it all stopped at the end of the 1960’s and that’s why there are some virtues in being old because I know these things now the main thing to think about is that word disgust it’s a finite verb that means it can stand on its end of its in on its own and make that bunch of words a complete thought non-finite verbs there are such creatures can’t to discuss to boldly go the infinitive form of the verb cannot stand on its own discussing it’s the present participle say cabinet yesterday was discussing change and then it’d be fine but just discussing new think well I’m not an idiot.